Sunday, August 14, 2005

New Poll -- Newton Scandal

The troubles of Sen. Ernest Newton (D-Bridgeport) appear to be getting worse. This from Sunday's Connecticut Post:

One witness admitted to the grand jury that he paid Newton about $2,000 in exchange for the senator's "help" in providing state funding and other needs for a now closed youth home.

Another witness said he told the grand jury that Newton repeatedly solicited money from his agency in return for assistance, but said no money was paid. Still other witnesses describe questions from prosecutors, FBI agents and jurors on whether campaign funds were diverted to Newton's personal use. (Cummings)

More to come, I'm sure. This has a "tip of the iceberg" sort of feel to it. The Day ran a pro-Rell opinion piece today chastising Democrats for not doing/saying enough about Newton:

...Godbolt only recently pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy to embezzlement charges — six months after the scandal had first surfaced in the press. During this period, Republicans had been beseeching Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams to remove Newton as deputy president pro tem, but their earnest entreaties had fallen on deaf partisan ears.

Newton's Democrat friends in high places have been biting their swelling tongues for months. Even after Godbolt's guilty plea, Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan, a persistent critic of Rowland and one of Newton's mentors and friends, declined to comment, though he has had a little over 4,000 hours to think of something clever to say. (Pesci)

While the writer ignores the fact that Newton did in fact resign as chair of one of his committees and that he has subsequently been demoted, he may have a point about Democratic silence in general.

What do you think? There are two new polls about the Newton scandal on the sidebar (scroll down): go ahead and vote there. Defend your opinions here, if you like.

Cummings, Bill. "Witness says he bribed Newton." Connecticut Post 14 August, 2005.

Pesci, Don. "Why Gov. Rell Is Driving The Democrats Crazy." New London Day 14 August, 2005.


Anonymous said...

Bravo for starting the discussion.

If Newton is innocent, he better start an offensive now-- get the facts out there and clear his name.

If Newton is guilty,he should resign and save his energy for the court fight ahead.

Politically, this will have no effect on the Democrats in CT or even in Bridgeport. His seat is safely Democratic and will remain so (although we might get a better Senator there).

The real loser here is the State of Connecticut's reputation. Newton becomes the latest in a bipartisan roll call of corruption and depravtity....Ganim, Rowland, Santipietro, Girodahno, Newton.


Genghis Conn said...


A good analysis of the situation. Newton's own silence probably means his lawyer is telling him to keep quiet: never a good sign.

stomv said...

I don't know why either party stands for it.

To be sure, the mere accusation shouldn't be cause for the entire party to abandon a member; at the same time, corruption is an issue that every voter despises, and allowing it in your party at best gives up any advantages you might have had, and at worst can result in a major shift in voting trends (see: US Congress, 1994).

The party has to be strong, and by being corruption-free they'll be able to pick off districts that used to swing the other way when the opposing party's elected official gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

DeanFan84 said...

Here, Here, Stomv!

I'm in 100% agreement. We shouldn't stand for it, not at all.

Democratic leadership better get its act together up in Hartford, or we are going to win nada in 2006.

Let's start with Campaign Finance Reform, please!

Anonymous said...

How does this effect DeStefano and other Democratic gubenitorial candidate attempts to link Rell with the corruption of Rowland? Do you guys think that the bipartisan nature of recent corruption scandals makes this an easier or harder claim to make?

I personally think that everyone is sick of this corruption from CT politicians, and the reason Rell looks so unstoppable is that she is not corrupt (or at least has had no serious accusations otherwise).

Genghis Conn said...

Frankly, I don't think too many people are following the Newton story. So I don't think it will have much of an impact at all, at least over the short-term.

Agreed with DeanFan and Stomv: parties allow corruption at their own peril.

Anonymous said...

DeStefano and Bysiewicz are hypocrites. I found the following on

(New Haven-AP, Aug. 15, 2005 5:23 PM) _ Leading Democrats running for governor say state Senator Ernie Newton shouldn't be forced to resign amid bribery accusations.

Federal investigators are looking into Newton, a Bridgeport Democrat. A businessman pleaded guilty to bribing him this month. Records show the FBI has intercepted hundreds of incriminating phone calls.

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy are the three Democrats in the governor's race. They say Newton has time to decide whether to return to the legislature when it reconvenes in February.

DeStefano and Bysiewicz say they called for the resignation of former Republican Governor Rowland because his corruption scandal interfered with state government. They say Newton's case is different because the legislature is on a summer break."

COME ON! It's different because it's summer break? I don't care if you're a Republican or Democrat...corruption is corruption. These guys should have come out stronger...they should have said if Newton is indeed guilty he should resign. The Democrats this year look like the Rowland apologists of last year.

What does Malloy have to say? Maybe I'll vote for him if he is honest.

Anonymous said...

Oh wait...never mind. Malloy is a hypocrite with the rest of them. From the CT Post:

"But the three Democrats who have declared their interest in the gubernatorial race — New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy — all said Monday that Newton has time to decide whether to return to office when the Legislature reconvenes in February."